The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,882 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—6,641 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For the continuation of this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Basketry Merit Badge, I straightened my shoulders, cracked my knuckles, and dove right back in where I left off: weaving my own willow wicker basket. Just in time for Easter, my little peeps!
To recap, I had begun with soft willow branches. I chose eight of the pluckiest looking branches and used a sharp knife to make a slit in the center of half of them. I then inserted the remaining four (and you thought I wasn’t good at math—HA!) through, centering them. Capisci? Sometimes I channel my inner Italian lady when crafting; don’t mind me.
After that part, which is called building the Slath (or as I like to call it, Narrowly Missing Shishkabobbing Myself), I found the wee-est branches to use for the Pairing. The Pairing is not what kind of cheese you consume with what kind of wine, but what it’s called when you wind these puppies in and out and around our base. I got fairly far when I started this project, and I can even say, it almost, kinda, sorta, nearly looks like basket like now! Back to work we go:
Now we start sharpening some new rods to begin building up our sides. This can be somewhat distracting if you’re like me and simply cannot let a sharpened stick go to waste without first roasting a few homemade marshmallows. So when you are planning this project, plan on an extra hour for weenie roasting and S’mores. I’m just sayin.’ Three hour minimum commitment for this badge? Pshaw! How about a whole glamping weekend?!
Back to work! Wash the marshmallow goo off your hands and get serious now. Your new rods slightly used rods will be inserted carefully into your lovely woven pattern, at even intervals, right next to your first spokes (those original eight). Now it’s time to momentarily freak out a bit because your lovely basket will at this juncture look a lot like a gigantic tarantula.
Take those heebie-jeebie spider legs and bend them upward, gathering them, kind of like you would a ponytail. Whew. No more arachnophobia! Hopefully you don’t suffer from chaetophobia, which I don’t have to tell you if you have it, is a fear of ponytails.
I’m beginning to think this merit badge is difficult on the psyche.
Next comes a part called French Randing (no more Italian from this point on: only French. Ooo-la-la!)
This involves a bunch more weaving with a bunch more willow. Even for a tiny basket, you’re going to need copious amounts of willow! You’re putting them in, you’re putting them out, you’re putting them in, and you’re shaking ’em all about! Well, something like that. More or less. Maybe less.